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CONTEXT AND CHOICE OF VILLAGES

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Franco-Indian Project of Reconstruction after the Tsunami PROJECT FIR/ PROJECT UN AMI

CONTEXT AND CHOICE OF VILLAGES: CMC AND CHITTERAIPETTAI BY NICOLAS DRUESNE ---NGO INDES JAN 2005 REWORKED WITH ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS AND TRANSLATIONS
BY SHYAMA V. RAMANI, GREGG WEST AND BEULAH

HENRY!!

(COORDINATOR & MEMBERS OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE & VOLUNTEERS) For all additional information: shyama_ramani@yahoo.com Table of contents 1. 2. 3. 3.1. 3.2. 3.3. 3.4. 3.5. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Introduction: The context after the Tsunami .................................................................. 2 The Approach of Association INDES and its Indian subsidiary and partner FEED:..... 2 The first village : Chinamudaliarchavady or CMC ........................................................ 3 Evaluation of damage by tsunami in CMC .................................................................... 4 Damage to School and Crèche ....................................................................................... 4 Damage to the water supply ........................................................................................... 4 Damage to boats ............................................................................................................. 4 11 Immediate relief aid obtained after the tsunami in CMC .......................................... 5 Strategy for Reconstruction of CMC ............................................................................. 6 What the team INDES-FEED want to do in CMC......................................................... 6 The Second village : Chitteraipettai ............................................................................... 6 Evaluation of damage by tsunami in Chitteraipettai ...................................................... 6 Immediate relief aid obtained after the tsunami in Chitteraipettai ................................. 7 Intervention by local and international NGOs in Chitteraipettai ................................... 7 Strategy for Reconstruction of Chitteraipettai................................................................ 8

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1.

Introduction: The context after the Tsunami

First, the Tsunami has led to a conflict between the “poor who have been directly affected by the tsunami” and “the poor who have not been affected by the tsunami”. The former refers to the fisherman community and the latter refers to the dalits or ex-untouchables. The dalits are very upset seeing the fishermen community receive aid, while they are not getting anything. This has led to a number of violent encounters between the two communities necessitating the intervention of the police. The Indian Government is trying to alleviate the tension by making promises not only to the fishermen for reconstruction but also to the dalits for their economic upliftment. It is not evident that it will actually be able to carry out all its promises, but in the above context, it is clear that the project IFR (Indo-French Rehabilation) will seek to further ease these tensions through schemes that serve all communities and increase the economic status of the dalits (for example: by employing dalits for work that is being carried in the fishermen’s villages). Second, there is a real problem in the dalit and fishermen communities of child labour and stopping of the education of female children upon reaching puberty. The reasons are clear, uncertainty about the long term benefits of education, in contrast to the clear short term benefit of revenue generated by the children. A number of NGOs including INDES are working in various ways to promote the education of children and reduce the pressure on families to put their children to work. This problem will be aggravated in the wake of the economic losses incurred by the tsunami, unless special efforts are made. Increasing the incentives for children’s education will be a special focus of this project. Third, there is a great damage that cannot be repaired by money and this is the “psychological fear and trauma” created by the experience of the tsunami. There is little that can be done for the adults, but at the same time, they are more capable to internalizing it. However, it is imperative to expel it or reduce it in the children through making them talk about it, write about it, draw about it ….in all ways outside of school through extracurricular activities. Exorcising the psychological trauma of children and adults will be a third focus of this project.

2. The Approach of Association INDES and its Indian subsidiary and partner FEED: . First, having observed the massive emergency aid that has been directed to areas where the number of deaths was high with spectacular material damage, we wanted to find villages that had been left out but whose inhabitants needed help just as much. Second, having observed the lack of coordination between the various actions conducted in the field (some villages have gotten more clothing than necessary while others are in dire need of more), we decided to conduct a preliminary investigation in the village we have selected, at least for the moment, in order to find out what aid has really been received by the government or non-governmental organizations, what aid has been promised and what the needs of the villagers really are. Third, it is inconceivable for us or yourselves to carry out an action in a village without full cooperation between the various groups involved in the project. We want to avoid

3 reproducing the disastrous examples of certain non-governmental organizations (mentioned in previous correspondence) who seem to consider the local population as an object of study with no coordination of aid and no respect for the people who receive inadequate aid or the same aid several times (for example: the same vaccine three times in one week...) Fourth, it must be noted that in the context of the tsunami reconstruction effort there are three types of beneficiaries: a) those directly affected by the tsunami with deaths or injuries in the family, houses damaged or destroyed, loss of possessions, loss of means to make a living (boats, fishing nets, farming land, tools...) b) those indirectly affected by the tsunami, including people who were moved away for safety or fear of further seismic activity, those who lost work days, and those who suffered health problems after stays in relocation camps and various public health and hygiene problems. c) those whose socio-economic situation places them in a situation of constant and urgent difficulty. Justice and ethics led us to include these people as well as our concern that aid should not accentuate the tensions between individuals or social classes and castes so common in Indian society among the poorer strata. The project will be formulated so as to promote equitable access to aid and promote social harmony by helping the two social groups in the most difficult situation (due to the tsunami, but also in everyday life): the fishermen and the Dalits (untouchables). This should allow us to start planning immediately for short and middle term actions which involve all those belonging to these two groups who know little of each other, often totally ignore each other, and sometimes are in conflict. However, we have just begun to discover these villages and it takes time to identify the various people involved, gain their confidence and work together. In my opinion, the problems are not insurmountable; it simply requires time and methodology. Our project is being planned over a three year period and we must clearly define the types of actions (emergency relief with rapid evaluation missions as an indispensable prerequisite, both relatively easy to manage over a few days) and a working calendar that is adapted to these actions. There are two villages that we want to work on during the course of the 3 years. First, there is Chinamudaliarchavady or CMC, which is just 7 kms from Pondicherry. This is where we will start. Second, there is the village of Chitteraipettai, in the Cuddalore district. We hope to do something there once the rules being defined (and redefined) by the Tamil Nadu Government becomes clear. 3. The first village : Chinamudaliarchavady or CMC The fishermen’s area, or the kuppam of the nearby village CMC, is an area where FEED trust and INDES have already had some collaborations. That’s where some of the FEED trust students come from. This area made up of the fishermen’s community has been directly affected by the Tsunami. ....

4 3.1. Evaluation of damage by tsunami in CMC

90 houses have been partially or fully destroyed by the waves. All the families have lost their belongings. Most of their working gear has been lost (boats, fishing nets...) The stocking and drying area of the fish has been seriously damaged Out of 450 families of the village, there is no death, but there are 7 causalities out of which 2 are children Families were removed to the refugee camp set up at Auroville. The village is thus classified under the directly hit zones. Damage to School and Crèche

3.2.

There are 107 pupils and 4 teachers in the primary school. There are also 2 maids who cook the mid-day meals. 39 pupils come from homes directly hit by the tsunami. They are very irregular school goers and some don’t go to school at all. The local population has been affected materially and also psychologically by the tsunami; pupils don’t seem to be in the mood for school and many of them have lost their schooling material to the tidal wave. The school principal talks of her worries regarding these children, who seem really affected by this catastrophe: they seem to be perturbed and to have lost their appetite, they have frequent nightmares and are afraid to go out alone at nights... Nevertheless, it is important that they go back to school; otherwise they will only fall behind in their school work, which will eventually result as a failure at school. This could make them want to quit school and end up in child labour. It is therefore very important to act according to FEED trust, which has been trying for many years to combat child labour. The public school pupils also get free meals supplied by the Government. But the plates and tumblers have been carried away by the waves. So it is necessary to distribute them to the school and lock them in the school, so that families do not take them away. The maids could then wash them in clean water, in order to avoid any infection through germs. 3.3. Damage to the water supply

The tidal wave has also polluted under ground water systems and the water distribution systems which were already damaged; water containing bacteria and other germs is no longer potable. Schools wish to have water purifying filters and stock water in clean reservoirs. Besides, water is distributed only from 6to 8a.m and from 4.30to 6p.m; this will permit them to collect the filtered water when it comes and then stock it for the rest of the time. 3.4. Damage to boats No information.

5 3.5. 11 Immediate relief aid obtained after the tsunami in CMC Emergency aid

3.5.1.

-Following this quick enquiry and with the collaboration of the village authorities and the Education department, quick aid (Collective school equipments, Water filtering system...) had been brought to the Public primary school of the village by FEED trust, INDES and the Secours populaire français 74. Sri Sathiya Sai trust also gave emergency aid of food and other essentials. 3.5.2. Help given to schools

This school being situated in the fishermen’s village, has benefitted from many aids in the educational field, besides the aids from the Government, already given to all the schools. 3.5.3. Collective equipment: All pupils from the 1st to the 10th standards have really received all the necessary help regarding their schooling. Enquiry concerning aids given to the 12 pupils of the private schools, coming from directly hit families, is yet to be done. Enquiry concerning the 11th and 12th standard students and the help received by them is yet to be done.

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One NGO has already supplied the Heads of the fishermen’s association with a certain number of sports equipments : 4 cricket bats and balls, 4 volley balls, 4 nets, 2 carrom boards, 10 skipping ropes, 2 chess games. Auroville has also supplied toys for children.

According to the President of the village, these sports goods will go directly to the youngsters of the village and will not be shared with the primary school. All the same, the school principal has been asking for such sports equipments. 3.5.4. Medical Help

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The 9 wounded persons were admitted for treatment at PIMS hospital in Kalapet. The primary health centre from Kottakuppam conducted one medical camp on 27/12/2004 . They checked up the village people and gave some tablets especially they gave Vitamin A tablets to school children. They injected vaccinations (yearly two times) Team of doctors from Kolkatta doctors. They checked up every village and outside people, children and they gave tablets. Auroville health centre distributed Anti Virus tablets to full village.

6 3.5.5. Provision of water

UNICEF joined together Tamil Nadu Water Supply and they put three water tanks which are filled daily through the Kottakuppam special village panchayath. 4. Strategy for Reconstruction of CMC 4.1.1. Aid promised by the Tamil Nadu Government for children. Since recently, the Government of Tamil Nadu has elaborated a new directive demanding the schools to organize a week of extra-curricular activities of sports and educational games to help children get over their fear of the ocean and find peace. This reiterates our reflections but no budget has been allocated for these activities and it will be necessary to examine exactly how such a week can be financed. 4.1.2. Actions of NGOs No information available.

5. What the team INDES-FEED want to do in CMC Under discussion with IFR coordinators. 6. The Second village : Chitteraipettai Chitiraipeetai is a fishermen village situated in one of the districts most touched by the tsunami, Cuddalore and it suffered extensive material damages. It is located 75 kms south of Pondicherry. This village consists of 278 families and a little more than a 1000 inhabitants. Extremely exposed to the ocean front, about 70% were destroyed or in need of reconstruction and 74 boats were either lost or destroyed, according to the village council. But only one person was killed. This was because of a village specificity, “The women of the village know how to swim. Thus, they were able to save themselves and join the men in saving their children”. The study was conducted by T. Kumaran, Janikaraman, Sathurmugan, Krichewsky Damien, Jorcin Pierre. They conducted interviews with the village authorities, the villagers, detailled questionnaires with a sample of villagers. Interviews with the administrative authorities of the Taluk. Photos are available with with Secours Populaire if required. 7. Evaluation of damage by tsunami in Chitteraipettai 7.1. Damage to School and Crèche

There is a primary school and a creche in the village itself. There are about 80 students in the primary school (as of 17 Jan 2005). About a hundred children are in middle to high school outside of the village in Cuddalore. Three are in private college to become

7 engineers, 1 in a public college to become an engineer and 2 are in private applied engineering colleges. - The primary school being on high ground was not damaged by the water, its the people fear that the foundations are damaged. - Same for the creche. 7.2. Damage to Boats

Till a year back, the government had given subventions or finanical help to the fishermen to buy boats and motors. The villagers are then enabled to pay for their boats and engines in cash, preventing them from getting into debt. They go to Cuddalore by bus in order to sell their fish in the market. Number of boats possessed and State of damage to the livelihood from fishing. 1 IB Boat damaged at the port of Cuddalore ; cannot be reused. 30 fiber boats, of which 3 are totally destroyed and 27 could be repaired. 4 catamarans with motor, all entirely destroyed. 1 FRB boat. 52 ordinary catamarans all completely destroyed.

There is a carpenter in the village who can construct and repair ordinary catamarans and catamarans with motors. Such repairs take 1 week to 10 days respectively, but given the quantity of boats to repair, he needs help. The wood has to be ordered from Kerala. The people are waiting for help from the government for repairing the boats or buying new ones, but nothing has been finalized by the higher authorities. The nets are so damaged that they cannot be repaired. New ones must be bought. Each family obtained about Rs 10, 000 for repairs, but this amount was actually used not only to repair the boats but also to buy food and other essentials. The materials and stall for drying the fish is entirely destroyed. 8. Immediate relief aid obtained after the tsunami in Chitteraipettai 8.1. Creation of relief camps: In the aftermath of the tsunami two relief camps were created. - 1 in the primary school of Tiruchapuram (which regroups 2 villages) - 1 in the ceremony (marriage ceremony) hall of the village of Kallanchavady (serving as a camp for a number of other villages as well) On the 5th of Janueary, when the social worker and cameraman of the Secours Populaire of France visited the sites, they noted that the people were returning to their villages, though there were still some in the camps, sleeping and eating in the temple premises. There was a common kitchen. 9. Intervention by local and international NGOs in Chitteraipettai

8 9.1. Emergency aid

Emergency aid in terms of food and essentials were given by the Neyvelli lignite corporation (before the 8th of Jan, PO DRDA (before and after 08.01.2005), Tamil Nadu Government (before 08.01.2005), Secours populaire, INDES, FEED Trust (on 08.01.2005). Since 15 days, in addition to the distribution: - NGO LEAD (of Trichy) has done a study. - NGO REAL (of Cuddalore) has conducted a study and cleaned the village. - Hope foundation has cleaned the village - UELCI has constructed 29 temporary shelters and promised to consturct 29 houses. 9.1.1. Medical camps

1 medical camp : with injection of the vaccine against typhoid and distribution of medicines. The First aid centre of Tiruchapuram carried out daily medical examination till 13.01.2005 and afterwards passed from time to time.. 9.1.2. Provision of water NGO from Madhya Pradesh tested the water of the village. Tamil Nadu Government tested the water from the muncipal reservoir. They declared it to be potable but the villagers do not believe it to be so. The Tamil Nadu Government has arranged for a network of 1000m to waterpipes to connect the villagers with the waterbed/ water soil/or some layer beneath the resevoir rather than the resevoir itself. (I guess this one is the engineers only to understand!!: Shyama) UNICEF a given water tanks to the village and the panchayat has distributed water among the villagers.

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10. Strategy for Reconstruction of Chitteraipettai 10.1. Aid pledged by the Government - The Government has decided to move the village 500 metres away from the beach : On the 23rd January 2005 , the village inhabitants awaited the Collector in order to choose a land (they chose a private ground near the poultry farm ) : there were no other public land vast enough for the whole village. - -The BDO and the Collector have agreed to comply with the requests of the village people and build a Community hall and an anti-cyclonic shelter in the village. The Government has promised to give money to repair boats and fishing nets; Military engineers are to come and repair the boats. - The school and the creche will also be moved out along with the village. 10.2. Actions of NGOs - out of 280 families only 2 have private tiolets. The Golian NGO has promised toilets for every house.

9 The MNT NGO ( Mother Nallai Trust, women’s welfare trust) has appointed two women teachers to train the teachers of the village.

10.3. What the team INDES-FEED want to do in Chitteraipettai Under discussion with coordinator of IFR.


				
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